In this series of blogs, we’re examining three “Marketing Ds” to help marketers set themselves apart from a crowded competition.
The final entry is about data and its ever-increasing role in influencing and even driving marketing. Due to an incredible number of technology advancements, marketers can now utilize data like never before to significantly enhance their marketing efforts. Data is nearly ubiquitous in business but is particularly poised to support marketers across three stages of customer engagement.
Understanding the buyer journey
Whether you’re a marketer of foodservice equipment or a food and beverage manufacturer, successful marketing begins with taking the customer-centric view, and using data to better understand the buyer journey is fundamental to your success.
Pizza Hut has spent a considerable amount of time on customer journey mapping. They have used key data to analyze the purchase path and discover what they call “friction points,” especially in the payment process. During the buying mapping process, the company uncovered what its customers experienced as obstacles and also what customers really valued (e.g. online ordering, payment processing) and then made adjustments, including creating an outstanding app to address these issues, which has enhanced their market position.
What does your prospect or customer find difficult and challenging that you could address? What could buyer journey research data potentially tell you about modifying your offering or the way you offer it up?
I am convinced many buying decisions are not based on a specific product, as there is a lot of parity in the industry, but on the intangibles surrounding your offering. If you haven’t uncovered any data that might suggest what you could do to differentiate yourself, consider doing so. You just may be surprised to find a real “friction point” and make needed changes.
Understanding the buyer
Food operators, particularly national chains, know exactly who their target audience is and what they value. I doubt you will find many vegetarians at Arby’s. The company’s quest to rebrand and differentiate itself by appealing primarily to “meat lovers” has paid off in spades. Marketing leaders thought well about buyer personas and used various data and insights to know what would resonate and appeal to their target audience.
Arby’s continues to use data from various sources — including POS data, voice of the customer research and social media data — to continue to inform marketing efforts and menu development.
In the foodservice B2B world, it’s even more critical to use data to help frame buyer personas due to the sheer number of individuals who compose the buying center. Depending on whether you are selling food equipment or food and beverage, these individuals may vary from chefs and other culinary roles to supply chain personnel, food safety personnel and equipment procurement, to name a few.
If you haven’t done so, developing personas and utilizing research data to frame what matters to those individuals is tremendously valuable. At our most recent Insight2Impact Foodservice Summit, we unveiled the results of a study on this very topic that you may find interesting.
Lastly, many brands, ranging from nationally recognized names to small operators, have emphasized the importance of connecting with their customer base since an excellent experience is key to turning customers into raving fans.
For example, various brands have engaged with the critical millennial population via superior content, promotions, apps to make it easier to order and pay, and more. They assume an omnichannel approach to engage with a wide audience, and the data and metrics obtained through content marketing and social media efforts are utilized to shape even stronger strategies to enhance their relevancy and in turn deepen customer loyalty.
How intentional are you in using data and insights to deepen your value proposition to your prospects and customers? While content marketing and social media are hot, what’s key to capitalizing is the ongoing analysis of the data to inform how you can better engage your followers and readers. It’s easy to get in implementation mode and not take the time (and needed measures) to review the data and gain the insights you need to further enhance your effectiveness in connecting with customers.
From a marketing standpoint, there are more ways than ever to find and use data to enable you to help you define your customers’ journeys, create buyer personas and to engage them effectively. As the quote made famous by a The Economist article highlights, “Data are becoming the new raw material of business.”
If you find yourself struggling with any of these opportunities, VantagePoint can help you bring insight from data to impact your business.
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